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Heroin addict targeted elderly women to fund her habit
A HAMPSHIRE woman targeted elderly women living in sheltered accommodation in a desperate attempt to get money.
Lapsed heroin abuser Rhana Martin, who wanted the cash to fund her habit, has been jailed for three years.
Twice she was rebuffed but on the third she conned her way in and brought heartbreak to a 76-year-old by stealing her only memento of her late husband.
Prosecutor Roderick Blain described how Martin told one woman her grandmother had fallen in the upstairs flat and needed to urgently phone for an ambulance, but she didn’t fool the 90-year-old occupant who told her she ought to use the emergency cord to alert the warden.
Her next ruse was to tell an 81-yearold woman that she had lost her dog and then complained of feeling dizzy but the woman also shut the door on her. However, minutes later, she called at the home of a 76-year-old and spun a tale she couldn’t find her cat and then simulated dizziness by slumping against a wall.
The woman kindly invited her in and while she went to get a glass of water, Martin repaid her charity by stealing her purse which contained her husband’s St Christopher medal and which has not been recovered.
Martin then continued chatting to her before leaving.
Martin, 42, of Herrick Close, Southampton, admitted one distraction burglary and asked for two attempted ones to be considered.
Judge Peter Henry said she had deliberately targeted the sheltered accommodation because the elderly lived there and her offending had considerably affected her victims.
In mitigation, Jon Swain told the court how she had lapsed back into drug misuse after hearing her son was seriously ill through cystic fibrosis. She did not want sympathy for herself but asked the judge to consider the impact a jail term would have on him.
In passing sentence, the judge confirmed he would do that, but said her offending showed persistence and planning.
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